Academic Freedom and Teaching

Glass v. Paxton (University of Texas at Austin), No. 17-50641 (5th Cir. Nov. 20, 2017)(amicus brief filed)

The AAUP joined with the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence and the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence in an amicus brief filed in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals supporting a challenge to a statute and policy in Texas that compel faculty to permit concealed handguns in college classrooms. The brief explains that college campuses are marketplaces of ideas, and that the presence of weapons has a chilling effect on rigorous academic exchange of ideas. The brief argues that the policy (and the law pursuant to which the policy was created) requiring that handguns be permitted in classrooms harms faculty as it deprives them of a core academic decision and chills their First Amendment right to academic freedom.

Sussex Commons Associates, LLC v. Rutgers, 416 N.J. Super. 537 (App.Div. 2010)

Asking the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey court to protect the records of the law clinic, the AAUP’s joint amicus brief argued that requiring the clinic’s records to be released publicly would impinge on the academic freedom rights of Rutgers faculty and students as well as the First Amendment rights of citizens to access and use law clinics.  

Burt v. Rumsfeld, 322 F. Supp. 2d 189 (D. Conn. 2004); Burt v. Gates, 502 F.3d 183 (2d Cir. 2007)

Professor Rubenfeld and members of Yale Law School faculty sued the Department of Defense on First Amendment and Fifth Amendment grounds; they argued that the Department was wrong in applying the Solomon Amendment against the university because of the law school's nondiscrimination policy. 

Rumsfeld v. Forum for Academic & Institutional Rights, Inc., 547 U.S. 47 (2006)

An association of law schools and law faculties alleged that the Solomon Amendment, which tied federal funding for institutions of higher education with giving military recruiters access equal to that provided to other recruiters, infringed its members' First Amendment freedoms of speech and association. The Solomon Amendment placed schools in the unwanted position of either violating their own policies regarding discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, or risking millions of dollars in federal funding. 

Axson-Flynn v. Johnson, 356 F.3d 1277 (10th Cir. 2004)

Christina Axson-Flynn, a former student  at the University of Utah, sued her university theater department professors for violating her First Amendment rights by requiring  students perform in-class plays that Axson-Flynn found religiously objectionable.

Burbank v. Rumsfeld, 2004 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17509 (E.D. Pa. 2004)

 The University of Pennsylvania  Law School promulgated an anti-discrimination policy that limited its services to employers who did not discriminate based on sexual orientation. After the Air Force stated that the policy did not comply with the Solomon Amendment and threatened the school's federal funding, the school decided not to enforce the policy against military recruiters. The court held that the law school had standing to assert violations of the First Amendment rights.

Linnemeir v. Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, 155 F. Supp. 2d 1044 (N.D. Ind. 2001); Linnemeir v. Board of Trustees of Purdue University, 260 F.3d 757 (7th Cir. 2001)

This case involved efforts by some taxpayers and Indiana state legislators to compel Indiana University-Purdue University to halt the campus production of a controversial play, which the plaintiffs alleged is an "undisguised attack on Christianity and the Founder of Christianity, Jesus Christ."

Southern Christian Leadership Conference v. Supreme Court of Louisiana, 61 F. Supp. 2d 499 (E.D. La. 1999); SCLC v. Supreme Court, 252 F.3d 781, 786 (5th Cir. 2001

The Louisiana Supreme Court amended a rule that imposed limits on the types of clients law school clinics may represent.  A number of plaintiffs, including professors and students, challenged this rule, alleging, in part, that it violated the academic freedom of professors to teach and students to learn.